Dec. 2, 2015
The Hmong Pioneers project, undertaken by the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), seeks to preserve a unique Saint Paul success story – the integration of Hmong refugees who immigrated to the St. Paul, Minn., area beginning in the 1970s. The Hmong are part of an ethnic group from southeast Asia who sought refuge in the U.S. following the Vietnam and Laos Civil wars. Today, the Twin Cities metro area is home to 66,000 Hmong, the largest urban Hmong population in the nation.
In May 2014, the SPNN, a non-profit community media center, began work on a documentary capturing the stories of St. Paul Hmong elders to ensure their legacy could be passed along to future generations, as well as understood and celebrated by the St. Paul community. Slated for completion in 2016, “Hmong Pioneers: Honoring the First Wave” presents an oral history through candid interviews with Hmong elders, in an hour-long documentary produced by St. Paul community members, including Hmong participants.
With help from Voqal Fund, SPNN continues to empower people to use media and communications to better lives and build common understanding.